In eastern Ukraine, after the Ukrainian retreat from Lysychansk, the focus of fighting shifted to the neighboring Donetsk region. On the border with the Luhansk region, Russian attacks were successfully repelled near Bilohorivka and Verkhnjokamyanske, the Ukrainian general staff said on Facebook on Monday evening. The Wuhlehirsk thermal power plant to the west of Svitlodarsk, which has already been conquered by pro-Russian separatists, is also contested.
On the other hand, the Russian troops had gained territory north of Slowjansk near Masanivka. In addition, Ukrainian positions on large parts of the front were shelled with artillery, rocket launchers and mortars. The Russian air force also bombed positions of Ukrainian units. Zelenskyy’s adviser Oleksiy Arestovych expressed confidence that Ukrainian troops will be able to stabilize the defense lines on other sectors of the front after the abandonment of Lysychansk. Overall, however, one can say that Russia’s military has conquered the Luhansk region, he admitted on YouTube.
Meanwhile, Russia is stepping up efforts to cement its control over occupied Ukrainian territories. In the southern region of Cherson, for example, after the introduction of the ruble as a currency and the issuing of Russian passports, administrative structures based on the Russian model are to be set up.
The goal is integration into the Russian Federation, stressed the deputy head of the Russian military administration, Kirill Stremousov, on the Telegram news service. On Tuesday, a new regional government should start work.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called for the country’s reconstruction not to wait until the end of the Russian war of aggression. Much must be done immediately, Zelenskyj emphasized in his daily video speech on Monday evening. In the areas from which Russian troops had been driven out, tens of thousands of houses had been destroyed. You also have to prepare for the winter now, including with a view to the energy supply.
The first major conference on the reconstruction of Ukraine is currently taking place in Lugano, Switzerland. The Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Schmyhal estimated there on Monday that at least 750 billion dollars (almost 720 billion euros) would be necessary for this.
Large parts of the economy have been paralyzed by fighting and Russian attacks, Zelenskyj said in his speech. Thousands of companies are at a standstill. At the same time, it must be about more than just putting up walls that have been destroyed: “Ukraine must become the freest, most modern and safest country in Europe.”
Selenskyj commented only briefly on the course of the fighting in the east of the country. The Ukrainian armed forces inflicted casualties on the Russian military every day, Zelenskyy said. “We have to break them.” That will take time and “superhuman effort”, but there is no alternative to secure Ukraine’s future.
Oleg Nikolenko, spokesman for the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, has again invited Pope Francis to visit Kyiv. “It’s time to deepen connections with those who sincerely desire it. We renew the invitation to Pope Francis to visit our country and urge you to continue praying for the Ukrainian people,” he said.
However, Nikolenko stressed that the Roman Catholic Church leader wanted to travel to Moscow first before visiting Kyiv. Pope Francis himself confirmed this shortly thereafter: “First, I would like to travel to Russia to try to do something to help. But I would like to travel to both capitals.”
That will be important on Tuesday
The conference on the reconstruction of Ukraine ends in Lugano, Switzerland. Zelenskyy promised “maximum transparency” on all projects amid concerns about corruption in his country. The accession protocols required for the admission of Sweden and Finland are to be signed at NATO headquarters in Brussels in the morning.
The ceremony will be attended by representatives of all 30 member states. Due to the subsequent ratification process in the allied states, it is estimated that it could take another six to eight months before Finland and Sweden can actually be accepted into the military alliance.
Also Read: Ukraine Update July 4th – Putin Tells Soldiers to ‘Rest’, Melnyk to Return to Ukraine